The Impossible Christmas of Clooney Dockins

Clooney Dockins has delivered the mail on time for thirty-two years, until that strange and impossible Christmas when he wakes up late. This Christmas short story is included  part of the BookElves Anthology collection of holiday stories. Now available for pre-sale on Amazon and Smashwords.    ...

Cover Reveal for Rebecca Douglass’s Latest!

My compadre and fellow GoodReads moderator Rebecca Douglass writes stories for older children and cozies for grownups. If you haven’t discovered her books and excellent blog, you can find her at The Ninja Librarian. Today I want to spotlight her upcoming children’s book, Halitor the Hero, which will be released November 30th. It promises to be a lot of fun! The failed hero apprentice Halitor is given one last chance to prove himself,  but blows it when he can’t even manage to hold onto his sword. Halitor resigns himself to washing dishes for the rest of his life. Then he meets Melly the kitchen wench, who drags him along on her own personal mission to find her father. Halitor finds himself way over his head on a monster-filled journey, with more to learn than just how to be your average hero. A fair maiden who breaks all the rules. A would-be hero who fails by the book. It’ll be a fantasy adventure like you’ve never seen… if they can survive past breakfast!    ...
Humble ISD “Read-out” Book Festival!

Humble ISD “Read-out” Book Festival!

Saturday, January 25th, I’ll have the opportunity to hang out with young readers and writers at the Humble ISD Book Festival. What’s not to love? Books, books, and more books! And there’s a great lineup of writers I can’t wait to meet: Joe Hayes, Jackie Mims Hopkins, Greg Neri, H.J. Ralles, and Tom Watson. But the best part of book events is always the kids. At the book festival, I’ll get to invite students to my table to make their own books. Usually I do “Poof Books” which is a genius kind of book a kid can make with a single sheet of paper, without scissors, staples, or tape. Maybe it’s the cold grey January weather or a more depressing than average news cycle, but for some reason I feel the need to add googly eyes this year. Everything is better with googly eyes. So we’re making accordion books, which also requires the addition of glue and tape. Putting any kind of adhesive in the hands of children is always a gamble, but where’s the glory without a little risk? You might think I do this because I’m the crafty type, but you’d be wrong. (If you just say the words glitter and hot glue gun in the same sentence, you’ll see me break out in a cold sweat. There’s some backstory here, but I’ll save it for another time.) I do bookmaking projects because there’s something about paper and colored pencils and markers bring out the storyteller in all of us, and there’s nothing better than hearing the stories that come out of a seven-year-old or an eleven-year-old’s imagination....

The Bookshop Hotel by A.K. Klemm

“The building groaned in the wind, ached under rainfall, grew tired of neglect. Then AJ came and things began to change.” — from the Bookshop Hotel The Bookshop Hotel is emotionally rich and just the right length to devour in an afternoon curled up with a favorite cup of coffee. I could happily spend the rest of my days living in one of those cozy rooms above the bookshop of Klemm’s engaging imagination. Twenty-six year old AJ Rys returns to her childhood hometown and begins restoring an old hotel bequeathed to her by her grandfather. Rotten boards are replaced, the woodwork is spruced up, and then the books move in. The wonderful bones of a Victorian mansion are resurrected anew into a bookshop where an old, dying community begins to hum to life once more. But AJ’s past identity within the small, sometimes confining, community clashes with who she’s becoming. A.J. must find the courage to come to terms with her past and forge her future in a community of people she cares about. Klemm’s language is gorgeous, flowing from one beautiful sentence to the next. The characters jump fully formed from the page, feeling instantly like people I’d known my whole life. Hoping there will be a sequel so I can spend some more time in the old hotel in Lily Hollow! It already feels a little like...

Interview with S. Smith

S. Smith is the author of the excellent SEED SAVER series, about a dystopic future where gardening and owning seeds is against the law. It’s up to three courageous friends to change the future. But can these children learn enough about the old ways before being stopped by GRIM, the government agency controlling the nation’s food? Personally, I can’t wait to read this series to my own kids — nothing will make vegetables more appealing than outlawing them! I recently had the opportunity to interview S. Smith to find out more about her two great passions: gardening and writing for children. I once heard a gardener say that every garden is a saga — a constant cycle of birth, life, and death. Do you find drama in yours? There’s always drama in my garden. So much so that I think half of the poems I write are about my garden. I once wrote a poem in the voices of various herbs who were arguing amongst themselves. And then of course there is the drama among the aphids, ants, slugs, squirrels, birds and all the other pests I don’t see, but the evidence of their visits is left behind in the hollowed out tomatoes or missing cucumber plants! Have you already plotted out the rest of your Seed Savers series? Can you give us any teasers about what to expect in future books? Very little! Unfortunately, I’m more the panster than plotter. I do hope that it will be a five book series, but it could go longer. One thing I will say is that I think things are probably going...